The Supreme Court continued to limit the use of the Death Penalty Wednesday in a 5-4 decision, saying that capital punishment is unconstitutional punishment for child rape, thus overturning laws in Louisiana and five other states. Justice Kennedy for the majority from the NY Times:
said there was “a distinction between intentional first-degree murder on the one hand and non-homicide crimes against individual persons,” even such “devastating” crimes as the rape of a child, on the other.
The Times report continues with:
The decision was the third in the last six years to place a categorical limitation on capital punishment. In 2002, the court barred the execution of mentally retarded defendants. In 2005, it ruled that the Constitution bars the death penalty for crimes committed before the age of 18.
Given my categorical opposition to capital punishment (see my post Don’t Kill for Me), I am pleased with the ruling.
Here’s the Dallas Morning News report.
And of course, the SCOTUS blog.
Remember, opposing the death penalty doesn’t mean criminals should be set free or that there is no compassion for victims of violent crime, it means that the way to a less violent society is not to have the state kill as punishment, it means that an eye for eye only ends up leaving the whole world blind.